Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Before I get to this week’s legislative news, I want to remind you of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce’s Rochester Day at the Capitol. The event will take place this coming Monday, March 11 at the Capitol in St. Paul. The day includes a “Rally in the Rotunda” and is a unique way to visit the Capitol, meet with legislators, and have an impact on the legislative process. Click here for more information and to register. I hope to see you Monday!
Earlier this week, the legislature approved and the governor signed into law legislation that makes technical fixes to allow the funding of Highway 14 to proceed. Although the funding was approved last year, construction on Highway 14 has been delayed as a result of technical issues that could only be fixed with legislation. Tuesday’s action will allow this project – which expands a stretch of Highway 14 to four lanes from Owatonna to Dodge Center – to get underway this year.
I’m proud to have supported and advocated for this critical project throughout the process. This expansion is long overdue and will benefit southern Minnesota's economy by improving safety, travel times, access, and travel capacity.
Govenor Walz recently released his proposal for a nearly $1.3 billion bonding package for this year. Bonding bills are generally used to fund construction projects statewide, such as roads and bridges and water infrastructure. In addition, bonding bills are usually the focus during non-budget years. This year is a budget year, meaning the legislature’s main priority is assembling a state budget for the next two years. During budget years, if the legislature passes a bonding bill at all, it is generally much smaller than what the governor proposed last week.
Bonding bills are an important part of helping communities in rural Minnesota fund their priorities. However, such a large bonding package – especially in a non-bonding year – represents reckless and irresponsible spending on the governor’s part. In addition, the governor has already signed into law a smaller bonding bill of $102 million this session – which we must apply to this year’s bonding total. As we look ahead to another bonding bill later in session, it’s imperative that we take into consideration the money we have already spent in this area.
In this non-bonding year, I will continue to advocate for a responsibly-sized bill that helps fund needed local projects while keeping government spending and borrowing under control.
Please Contact Me
Please continue to stay in touch to share your thoughts on the issues and legislation that will be coming before me in the weeks and months ahead. You can reach me via phone at (651) 296-4378 or via email at email@example.com.
Have a great weekend.